In Spare Time, 2L Ben Krause Fights for Disabled Veterans
NOVEMBER 14, 2011—Benjamin Krause (’13) has been an advocate for disabled veterans for nearly ten years. In 2009 the "formerly frustrated veteran turned journalist," as he describes himself, founded DisabledVeterans.org. The site provides information about compensation, pensions, vocational rehabilitation, and other issues of importance to veterans, plus a forum for discussions about the challenges they face.
Krause says he has "successfully navigated the Department of Veterans Affairs Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program twice," first in completing his undergraduate degree in economics at Northwestern University and currently in working on his J.D. at the University of Minnesota Law School. He describes his experiences in persevering through the complicated process to secure tuition and other funding in one of his articles, and throughout the site he offers helpful tips, links, and opportunities to speak up.
One of Krause’s recent undertakings was an online survey, "Hold Them Accountable," to assess readers’ thinking on budget-balancing measures that could affect veterans' benefits. Over three weeks in October and November, he received completed surveys from 579 military personnel and family members in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. About two-thirds (61.49%) of those who took the survey were veterans, and nearly three-fourths (73.92%) were disabled.
Findings were clear: 95.61% of survey takers were against tax cuts if they decrease veterans’ benefits. In fact, 71.15% were in favor of raising taxes to increase veterans’ benefits. Given a selection of nine types of programs from which to cut 20% of spending, participants targeted corporate subsidies as their top choice, with Veterans Affairs programs coming in last. The survey is just the beginning in a movement to make politicians accountable for their votes and promises to veterans, current and former, Krause says.
On his mission, Krause states, "My passion and long-term goal is to write and speak out loud enough so that other veterans won’t have to fight every step of the way to receive the benefits they were promised." He is also involved in developing a Veterans' Mentorship Program, connecting area veterans with executives within the area.
A former Senior Airman in the U.S. Air Force, Krause served with the Air Mobility Command in the Middle East (Desert Fox in Bahrain) and later with the USAF Special Operation Command in Mildenhall, Great Britain, where he participated in operations in Eastern Europe.